porn protecting children

Japan and porn. (Sigh.)

While the “hardcore” stuff is supposedly illegal, and censors wield a mighty airbrush (Images of pubic hair are illegal), soft porn permeates everyday society. In every convenience store, in every bookstore, and in places you cannot avoid (including on the train,) there are images of girls in suggestive poses, scantily clad. (And that’s not to mention the questionable manga comics that some men read in public without shame.)

It’s very different from the world I grew up in, where that kind of stuff was saved for cable TV, R-rated movies, magazines hidden under mattresses.

I find myself having to have conversations with my children that neither they nor I are ready for.

Part of the problem is that I’m not sure how I feel about it.

The “junior idols” here, preteen girls who pose in T-backed underwear? I find that disgusting and legally questionable. But the other stuff? The women who are of legal age and choose to use their sexuality to make a living? It seems like a cop-out, an affront to the rest of us who make our way in the world with our clothes on.

And then there is the question of how on earth I explain this to my children.

I have a boy and a girl. I don’t want to go down the “Nice girls don’t do that” route, but I don’t want my son looking at it and I don’t want my daughter doing it!

I worry especially about the messages these kind of images send to my daughter. I can tell her a million times that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, but you and I both know that in this world today — for women especially — that isn’t 100% true.

But the thing about pouty lips and perky breasts (and, I think, after having children I really feel this keenly), is that they fade and change and migrate as we age. It’s fleeting; it doesn’t matter. But even the mature women on TV look like teenagers with a few gray hairs and conveniently placed creases.

I hope my daughter will grow up to love and respect her body for what it can do, not for what it can do for someone else.

Her preschool had a yoga-for-mommies event last year, and the teacher summed it up really well by saying our bodies are our vehicles in life. I want her to be the driver of that vehicle, to adorn it in a way that pleases her, and not worry about what the “other cars” in the lot may have to say.

Do you remember that old church song? “Be careful little eyes what you see?” I wish I had more control over what they see. Seeing too much before you are ready cannot be good for anyone.

Are children exposed to questionable images where you live? How do you deal with the questions that brings?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog from our writer in Japan and mom of two, Melanie Oda at Hamakkomommy

Photo Credit: hansol via Compfight cc 

Melanie Oda (Japan)

If you ask Melanie Oda where she is from, she will answer "Georgia." (Unless you ask her in Japanese. Then she will say "America.") It sounds nice, and it's a one-word answer, which is what most people expect. The truth is more complex. She moved around several small towns in the south growing up. Such is life when your father is a Southern Baptist preacher of the hellfire and brimstone variety. She came to Japan in 2000 as an assistant language teacher, and has never managed to leave. She currently resides in Yokohama, on the outskirts of Tokyo (but please don't tell anyone she described it that way! Citizens of Yokohama have a lot of pride). No one is more surprised to find her here, married to a Japanese man and with two bilingual children (aged four and seven), than herself. And possibly her mother. You can read more about her misadventures in Asia on her blog, HamakkoMommy.

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